Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue have announced the allocation of €70 million through the LEADER programme for the period 2021-2022.

The government has today (Friday, March 12) begun the process of submitting an amendment to the European Commission to extend the 2014 to 2020 Rural Development Programme, under which LEADER is funded, out to the end of 2022.

As part of that process, the LEADER programme will be allocated a total of €70 million for 2021-2022, adding an extra €50 million to the initial funding of €20 million announced by Minister Humphreys in December 2020.

The ministers said that the funding will support rural communities and private enterprises in the recovery of Covid-19.

An opportunity to respond to the emerging challenges

“Last December, I launched the Transitional LEADER programme for the period 2021-2022 and gave a commitment to review funding for the programme when clarity was provided regarding EU funding for the transitional period to the end of 2022,” Minister Humphreys said.

This will give local communities and enterprises an opportunity to respond to the emerging challenges for their areas and will support measures that provide employment and job creation throughout rural Ireland.

“The funding we are announcing today will ensure that more vital locally-led projects in areas like climate change, digital transformation, remote working and enterprise development can be progressed in rural communities throughout the country.”

In the coming weeks, the Department of Rural and Community Development will provide the breakdown of the increased allocation of €70 million to each of 29 local action groups who deliver the LEADER Programme.